While I let my kids tie-dye with real dyes occasionally, it’s a bit of a nightmare. This is much easier, and a good activity for a group of young kids.
Needed-food dyes and paper towel. You can get recycled, biodegradable paper towel now, which can be composted when you’re done with it.
Mix up the food dyes with water in bowls. Make the colours fairly strong, you want them to pop.
Give the kids a sheet of towel and explain that how you fold the paper affects the pattern of the dye. Suggest they try squares, triangles, crumpled balls and any other origami they can think of. When they’re happy with their fold get them to dip one corner/edge in their chosen colour-it will wick up the paper towel reasonably fast, so emphasise that they’ll only need to hold it there for a few seconds. Then remove, shake, and put another corner/edge in a different colour, as many times as you can-usually only three.
Unfold and see what pattern has appeared! Repeat until you run out of towel, most likely. Once dry use for other crafts and play-wrapping small presents, cutting and pasting shapes, mosaics, over-drawing pictures based on dye shapes etc etc.
You can also try ‘dyeing’ paper. This is blank newsprint our neighbour gave us, and the result of using straws to add then blow the dye around. It was used as wrapping paper for birthday presents.
Best of all? It all washes off straightaway. No blue cheek like my Frosty has at present.